Saturday, November 20, 2010

Egg Substitute

This works for baked goods including yeast breads. It also works in the veggie burger recipe. 

Equivalent to one egg:
1 tbsp ground flax seed*
3 tbsp water

Whisk together in a shallow bowl with a fork. Add to recipe as usual. 

*I have a spare coffee grinder in my spice cupboard to grind things like this. 

Extra tip: You can clean your coffee grinder by grinding plain white rice in it. It will will clean the sides and blade. For cleaning something that was very fragrant, grind two batches of rice. It should come very clean.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Oatmeal Fig Bars

These bars are thick and crumbly. Not too sweet, goes great with a cup of coffee.

1 14oz. pkg. dried figs cut into small pieces (I used Kalamata whole dried figs from Randazzo's, like this)
2 cups water
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup local honey
pinch of sea salt

Crust & Topping
4 cups rolled oats pulsed in the food processor
2 cups unbleached AP flour (you could use 1 1/2 cup AP flour & 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup local honey
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups butter (I use Smart Balance)

For filling-
Add figs & water to the pot. Bring to a boil, take it off the burner and let it sit for about 30 minutes. The figs need to soak up most of the water. If there's a lot of water left in the pot, pour some out. Once the water is mostly gone, puree' the figs with a hand blender- make it a smooth or chunky as you'd like. Add the rest of the ingredients. It should be a thick paste.

For crust-
Dump all ingredients into mixer bowl. Combine until it resembles coarse, wet sand.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease the sides of a 13"x9" baking dish. Press 2/3 the crumb mixture into the bottom of the dish. Spread filling evenly over the crust. Crumble the last 1/3 of the crumb mixture over the top of the filling. Gently pat the crumbled top so it's pressed down into the wet filling. This makes the bars less crumbly when you cut them.

Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into small squares.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Potato Asparagus Tart & Freezer Cooking Day Results

I've accomplished a lot today, due to careful planning. I map out my cooking days the day before. I usually break it down step by step so I am efficient- combining like tasks (like chopping all of the onions I need for every recipe all at one time), starting the longest recipes first, etc. I was able to get all of this done in about 6 hours today. I took a few breaks and took my time. 

10 cups pancake mix
2 jars of fresh salsa
8 lunches of broccoli & brown rice
8 lunches of potato asparagus tart
30 cups poultry stock
3 dinners light turkey tetrazzini
3 dinners turkey & brown rice casserole
2 pans whole grain cinnamon rolls
3 dinners (1 1/2 lbs) parmesan chicken nuggets
1 lb sliced roast turkey for sandwiches
one jar of ranch dressing
one jar of italian dressing
one jar of french dressing

Now, for a new recipe- Potato Asparagus Tart

I've made this tart once before. It was delicious. I had stocked up on fresh asparagus in the springtime, so I was able to use it right out of the freezer today. This makes for a nice warm lunch, nice for fall even though it's got spring flavors. 

For tart:
10 stalks of asparagus
1 large potato, sliced
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
5 eggs
1 cup milk
sea salt & freshly ground pepper

For crust:
1 cup ap flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup butter
pinch of salt
ice cold water

Combine flour, salt, and butter with a pastry blender until you get something that looks like wet sand. Add a little cold water at a time until the dough holds together on it's own. Start out stirring the water in, then move to gently kneading it. 
I use my food processor for this- pulse flour and butter, scrape sides, and pulse again until you get the wet sand-ish looking crumbles. Add ice cold water in a stream while the processor is running. Takes about 30 seconds to form into a bunch of crumbles and a slightly sticky ball of dough. 

Remove dough and pat it together to form a ball. Use a little flour if it's sticky, but not too much because it toughens the dough.
Grease a 13x9 baking pan. Pat crust into bottom of pan and up the sides about an inch. 

Clean asparagus & chop into 1 inch pieces.

Slice potatoes and add to a pot of cool water. Bring to a boil and cook until just tender. Drain & cool. 

On top of tart crust, add a single layer of potato slices and sprinkle with grated cheese. 

Season with salt & pepper. 

Combine eggs and milk in a bowl and pour over the potatoes/cheese layer. Sprinkle asparagus spears equally across the tart. 

Bake at (375°F) in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes or until the egg mixture is slightly brown and throughly set. 

Serve warm with soup or a salad. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Seasoned Oven Fries

These fries are one of our new favorite recipes. We eat them as a side with grilled foods or on their own with spicy ketchup.

4-5 medium potatoes cut into thin wedges, leave the skin on
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp paprika (smoked is best)
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
black pepper
1/4 cup flour

Toss & coat the potatoes in a gallon size ziploc bag with the olive oil. Sprinkle in seasonings and coat them again. Sprinkle flour in bag and gently toss potatoes. The flour will be mostly absorbed by the oil & moisture on the potatoes.

Place potato wedges on large baking stone, making sure they don't touch. Take them out of the bag to put them on the stone. The excess flour will fall to the bottom of the bag.

Bake at 450 degrees for about 20-25 minutes depending on how crispy you'd like them.

Sprinkle with salt. Serve with a bit of sour cream or spicy ketchup.

Spicy Ketchup:
a little mayo

Mix up with a fork.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Chicken & Noodles

This thick stew has slightly chewy, dumpling-like egg noodles. Warm, filling, and comforting!

Chicken & gravy:
6-8 cups chicken stock
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups carrots, sliced
fresh or dried parsley, rosemary, & thyme to taste

2 cups flour
1 egg
about a 1/2-1cup warm water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder

For noodles: 
Combine flour, egg, baking powder, & salt. Add water slowly until a slightly sticky but firm dough forms. It should combine into a ball, with little dough/flour left on the sides of the bowl. Let dough rest while you prepare the chicken & gravy. 

Bring stock to a boil in a large pot. Add veggies and seasoning. Poach chicken breasts in simmering stock for about 20mins. Remove chicken & shred with two forks, pulling it apart into bite size pieces. Place chicken back into stock.

Roll out noodle dough with ample flour to about 1/4 inch thick. Use a pizza or pastry cutter to slice the noodles into strips about 1/2 inch wide and 2-3 inches long. Sprinkle more flour on top of the sliced noodles. Gently pick up noodles and toss them together with ample flour. They will slightly lose their shape, but should be coated in flour and easily able to separate from each other.

Place the noodles very gently into simmering stock. Place lid on pot for 3 mins. Remove lid and gently stir.

Combine 1/4 cup flour with a little cold water. Stir to dissolve flour. Add to simmering pot and stir. This will thicken the gravy.

Check for seasoning. Add as desired.

Serve steaming hot.

Vegetarian option: Use vegetable stock, omit chicken, & add double the veggies.

Can be frozen. Thaw & reheat on stovetop. Add a little water as gravy will thicken substantially.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Make-It-Your-Way Easy Quiche

This recipe makes one 9" quiche. It can be frozen (after cooking) & reheated.

1 cup milk, cottage cheese, sour cream, or plain yogurt (or any combinations of these that equals 1 cup)
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1 cup All Purpose flour
1 cup shredded cheese (any flavor)
1-2 cups veggies (any kind, I use spinach, carrots, broccoli, etc.) The easiest to add the veggies is 1 box frozen veggies (a medley or chopped frozen spinach, thawed & drained)
1/2 cup meat (ham, bacon, etc.) OPTIONAL

Combine everything in a bowl and pour into a 9" pie pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 375 degrees.

To freeze, wrap  cooled quiche in plastic wrap or put into a gallon size plastic bag.

To reheat, place frozen quiche in oven for 45 minutes at 325 degrees.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Patlijan Gouvej (Eggplant Stew)

Many people in our family call this "Papa John Goulash" because the correct pronunciation is a bit difficult. Phonetically it's- "pot-la-jon goo-veg" Anyway you say it, it's delicious!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups sweet peppers, any color, chopped
2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
20 Roma tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped OR 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 14.5oz can tomato sauce

Add oil to large stock pot. Toss in onions, garlic, and peppers. Salt the veggies so the liquid will release more quickly from them. Saute' on medium until they soften just a bit.

Add the rest of the ingredients into the pot. Stir to combine. Reduce to a simmer. Taste for seasoning and add salt/pepper to taste.

Simmer for about 30 minutes.

Serve piping hot over pilaf.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


This is our Armenian family recipe. We serve it at every family get-together. It's one of our very favorite things to eat!

1/2 stick butter or a little extra if you're feeling indulgent
1/2 large onion, chopped
To taste-Lawry's seasoned salt OR salt, garlic powder, onion powder, & a dash a paprika
Black pepper
1 cup FINE egg noodles or thin spaghetti broken into 1inch pieces.
6 cups chicken broth ir homemade chicken stock
3 cups converted long grain rice- must be converted, the grains of rice hold together better, this rice is not sticky when cooked. We use Uncle Ben's or Texas brand.

Melt butter in a pot on medium heat, add onions and seasoning, saute' until onions begin to be translucent. Enjoy the glorious smell of sweet onions and butter!

Add egg noodles and let them toast a bit in the butter.

Add broth, bring to a boil. Add rice and stir to combine the ingredients. Let it come back up to a simmer. Put a tight fitting lid on the pot. Decrease temperature to low.

Simmer for around 20-25 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Do not life the lid during this time. The heat must stay inside of the pot!

It's difficult to overcook converted rice because it holds it shape so well. Check it after 20 minutes to see if the liquid is absorbed, add cooking time accordingly until there is not liquid left at the bottom of the pot.

The noodles and onions will rise to the surface during cooking. Stir to re-combine them into the rice. Serve as a side dish or as a bed for your favorite vegetable stew or shish kabob.

Vegetarian option- use great quality vegetable stock in place of broth.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Blueberry Sweet Corn Pancakes

These are a nice change in flavor and texture from traditional pancakes. 

2 1/2 cups milk
1 egg
1/2 cup cooked sweet corn cut off of the cob (smaller pieces are best, not whole kernels)
1/2 cup corn meal
about a cup of fresh or frozen whole blueberries

Combine ingredients with whisk. Let stand for 20 minutes. Prepare 4"-5" pancakes as you usually would. Once you pour batter onto the griddle, sprinkle 4-6 whole blueberries onto each pancake. Flip, cook, & enjoy with syrup. 

Variation: Omit the blueberries. Sprinkle a little chili powder into the batter. Prepare as usual. Serve as a savory dish with salsa, sour cream, black beans, and guacamole. 

Can be frozen. See this post for instructions. 

Whole Grain Pancake Mix

  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups old-fashioned or rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 cup oil
  • Optional addition: 1/2 cup ground flax
Grind oats in food processor until fine. 
Combine dry ingredients. In a mixer or with a large whisk, drizzle in oil & mix until oil is evenly distributed. Will appear like damp sand. 

Store in a jar in the refrigerator indefinitely. 

Makes 10 cups. 

To make pancakes:

1 cup mix
1 cup milk
1 egg

Combine ingredients and let stand for 20 minutes. The oats need a chance to soak up some liquid. 

After letting it stand, gently stir before making pancakes. Makes about 8 4" pancakes per batch. 

To freeze: Cook pancakes & cool on a tray. Stacking them up makes them a bit soggy as they cool, so lay them flat to cool. Stack cooled pancakes into a clean bread bag (save them up for this). Seal up with a twist tie. Let all the air out of the bag first. Freeze on it's side. Pop apart frozen pancakes with a butter knife. Toast & enjoy!

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Automatic Dishwasher Detergent

Works great! And it's super cheap. Makes 32+ loads.

Use 2 tablespoons per load, a little less if your dishes are coming out cloudy.

1 cup Borax
2 cups Washing Soda
1 cup Baking Soda

Mix together. Store in an airtight container.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Best Veggie Burgers

This recipe makes a lot. It can be 1/2ed or 1/4ed, but I recommend making the whole thing and freezing them. 

These can also be used for taco filling, meatballs, etc.

1 onion
4 stalks celery
1 cup carrots
1 med zuchinni
3 cloves garlic
Mince all. I used my food processor. Salt & saute until barely translucent. This step is important because the burgers will hold together a little better and crisp up more easily if the veggies have let go of some of their moisture prior to being mixed in with the grains and beans.

2 cups dry lentils
2 cups dry split yellow peas *note- black beans could also be used
Cook beans in stock according to package directions. Mash them up up a bit. 

1 1/2 cups dry bulgur
Cook in water according to package directions.

1 cup walnut meal
about 4 cups oatmeal- you may need up to 6 cups depending on the moisture level of everything
4 eggs (or 6 egg whites)
Mrs. Dash
 20 dashes or more liquid smoke
4 tablespoons  or more worcestershire sauce

Combine everything and refrigerate for a few hours. Add more oats if it seems too wet to hold any shape. Season liberally. This makes a lot of burgers. If you are wondering if it's seasoned enough, take a small amount and brown up a tiny patty to taste for seasoning. 

The mixture is going to be fairly wet and kind of gummy and sticky. Form into patties. I form patties by putting some of the mixture on the counter, smashing it down to the thickness I want my burgers, and use my largest biscuit cutter to cut them uniformly. 

Flash freeze on baking sheets lined with plastic wrap. Bag up once frozen. 

Saute frozen patties on medium for 6-10 minutes per side depending on how frozen they are and how crisp you'd like them. Makes about 40 med-lg burgers.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Refrigerator Dill Pickles or Green Tomatoes

1/2 bulb garlic, peeled
1/2 med. onion, chopped
8 stems fresh dill
4 cups water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/8 cup salt 
1/2 jalepeno, sliced
6-8 pickling cucumbers, sliced or quartered into spears *OR*
6-8 green tomatoes - sliced *OR* a mixture of both

Place 1/2 of the peeled garlic cloves, onion, peppers and dill on the bottom of a 1/2 gallon sterilized jar.
Pack  1/2 cucumbers and tomatoes in jar.
Place remaining 1/2 of garlic, onions, peppers in jar. 
Pack remaining 1/2 of cucumbers and tomatoes in jar. 
Place remaining dill on top.
Heat water, vinegar and salt until the salt dissolves. 
Pour brine in jar, covering everything.  
Set at room temperature for about 2 days
then refrigerate. 
Pickles will keep 9 months-1 year.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Freezer Cooking & Baking Day

I thought I'd share my cooking/baking goals for today. We just purchased a large freezer and I am excited to fill it up! My grandma is coming over to help, and I of course, will share the goodies with her. I will give the play-by-play and share recipes sometime this week. 

Here we go-

I'm going to try to update and mark them off as I go. 

  • 1lb. bag of Pinto Beans in the crock pot
  • Large pot of tomato sauce to use for spaghetti and pizza
  • Brown Sugar Biscuit Twists
  • Whole Wheat Buttermilk Waffles x2
  • Whole Grain Cinnamon Rolls 
  • 100% Whole Wheat Bread
  • Cranberry Orange Scones x2
  • Thumbprint Scones x2
  • Hamburger Buns
  • French Toast
  • Whole Grain Pancakes
  • Banana Whole Grain Pancakes

Wish me luck!

Edit- We accomplished all of this, cleaned up, and packaged everything by 4pm yesterday. Wow! The funny thing is we didn't even fill a whole shelf in my new freezer. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

Blogs and Inspiration

Here are a few of my favorite "foodie" blogs and websites. I'll be linking them up in the sidebar soon! Do you a favorite food related site? If so, please share it with me in the comments. 

All Recipes (numero uno source! always look at the reviews of each recipe…they almost always contain vital info)
Old House Kitchen (they have a giveaway right now! go sign up!)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Italian Sausage and Sweet Pepper Ragu

The sweet peppers are the main attraction in this dish. Enjoy!

1/2 lb of italian sausage removed from casing
2 large yellow, red, or orange bell peppers, chopped, medium-large size pieces
1 small-medium onion, chopped small 
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 jar prepared tomato pasta sauce- I use Ragu b/c I always get it on sale
1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1tbsp sugar or honey- cuts acid in tomato and balances out flavor

Seasoning to taste:
italian seasoning
red pepper flakes
onion powder- adds a different layer of onion flavor
garlic powder- adds a different layer of garlic flavor
21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe's

Serve with:
12oz-16oz box whole wheat rotini or penne
Cook in stock if you'd like an extra layer of flavor

Saute meat & break up as it cooks. Let it brown and caramelize a bit. Add peppers and onions, saute until onions are softened. Season this layer of flavor. 

Add sauce, tomatoes, and sugar. Let it warm through to let the flavors meld together. Taste it for seasoning and the sweet/acidic balance. Add more sugar or salt if needed. Season again. 

Simmer while pasta is cooking. Drain pasta and place back into pot. Add sauce and combine. 

The large sweet pepper pieces make this sauce a little different than my regular tomato sauce. The spice of the sausage along with the sweetness of the peppers  is a great balance. The flavors in this dish are balanced so well that you don't need to serve it with cheese. I found that the traditional parmesan sprinkle threw the balance off. So, save some calories. Believe me, you won't miss it!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Roast Chicken & a TON of Chicken Stock: Part 2- The Stock

This pretty gal is gonna make us a ton of chicken stock, therefore making many many dishes to follow much much more flavorful. 

I use chicken or vegetable stock (I'll show you how I make that as soon as I run out of chicken stock)for all kinds of things in my kitchen. 

Most often I use it in this:
Always as a base in my homemade soups
To cook pasta and plain or spanish rice 
To make pilaf 
 To thin sauces
To make gravy

Pretty much any savory cooking that you'd add water to, I use stock instead. 

Alright, this takes a while but it's SO worth it, I promise. 

You'll need:

all the cooked bits, juices, veggies, etc. left from your roast chicken
the neck and offal
2 -3 onions- not peeled, quartered
1/2lb baby carrots
1/2 bunch of celery stalks leaves included, broken into medium pieces 
8 cloves garlic- not peeled, smashed a bit
parsley stems from one whole bunch and some of the leaves
black pepper
white pepper
onion powder- I know this is a bit redundant, but to me, it's a totally different flavor that fresh onion
Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute or Classic Mrs. Dash
generous amount of salt
35-40 cups of warm water (this is an estimate)

Mix everything but the seasonings and water in a large bowl. 

Divide into the pots you plan to use to make your stock. Or just use a BIG stock pot. I don't have a huge stock pot, so I use my 3 largest pots seen here:

This is not an exact measurement kind of thing. You want about 2-3inches of stuff in the bottom of each of your pots. Just be sure to divide the chicken bones and bits evenly between the bowls. 

Now, fill your pots with warm water, about an inch from the top of the pot. 

Season with your dry seasonings. Be very generous. For my large pot, I start with 1tbsp of onion, oregano, basil, 21 seasoning, and salt and 2tsp of the peppers and paprika. You are building flavor here and we want it to be delicious! Plus, my method involves stretching this chicken for as much flavor as I can get out of it. We need to help it out with a ton of veggies, seasoning, and to be honest, quite a bit of salt. 

Bring to a boil. Reduce to a nice simmer. 

Once the veggies are soft, give the broth a taste. Season it up a little more.

Simmer until the celery and parsley have turned that horrible, I mean MARVELOUS!, green-grey color. You want to cook this stuff to death. We are, after all, trying to suck every bit of flavor out of this stuff, right?

Turn off the burners, cover, and let it steep for about 20-30 minutes. It will stay HOT HOT HOT for a while. 

Strain the bits out and put the stock into 2 big bowls. This is what my garbage bowl of boiled stock bits looked like after I had strained everything. Yuck!

We need to cool the stock off as quickly as possible, so fill 2 large plastic freezer bags with ice, seal, and place one in each of the bowls. When the ice is melted, take the bags out and put the bowls in the fridge. 

Chill the stock until the fat has risen to the top and hardened up. Remove it from the top with a slotted spoon or your fingers. Save the fat if you'd like to make matzo ball soup or add some extra umph to your dumplings (that's what I'm going to do). By the way, the chicken fat is sometimes called schmaltz, but it's debatable if this method actually creates schmaltz.You can decide. I call it schmaltz. It sounds fancier than chicken fat.  

Divide the stock into freezer bags. I do it in 2 cup serving sizes. It's makes less waste for me that way. 

I realize that this is not as much a recipe as it's a "method."
If you're confused, or if I ever miss something in the steps, just ask me to help. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Roast Chicken & a TON of Chicken Stock: Part 1- The Chicken

We had roast chicken for dinner. I make it when I need chicken stock. It turned out well. The lemon added a touch of flavor that made it extra delicious. 

The two of us get 3-4 meals out of one roast chicken, plus 30+ cups of stock. This makes several very affordable dinners along with stock that will last me a few months in the freezer. 

For the roast chicken:
1 5lb-ish whole chicken rinsed and patted dry- save the neck and offal for the stock 
5-6 red skin potatoes- medium size- cut in half or quarters
1/2lb of baby carrots
1 large onion peeled and wedged
1 lemon
1/2 bunch celery stalks leaves included
4-6 whole cloves garlic- peeled
fresh parsley
Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute of Classic Mrs. Dash
olive oil

I use my large stoneware bowl from Pampered Chef to bake this in. They don't make it anymore. This would work the same way though-without the lid. Or a roasting pan that the chicken fits comfortably in.  

Lay the carrots, onions, celery, & garlic in the bottom of the pan. Salt & pepper them. They will act as your roasting rack. They will end up swimming in a delicious puddle of roasted chicken drippings. That makes for a GREAT chicken stock!

Place the bird on top of the veggies breast side up. Tuck the wing tips under the bird. I don't truss the bird. I give it such a comfy and moist environment to bake in that I've never had a problem of uneven cooking or a dry bird. 

Season the chicken liberally with 21 seasoning, salt & pepper. 

Arrange the potatoes around the bird. Season those too. 

Squeeze half of the lemon on the chicken and potatoes. Then, stuff that half of the lemon into the chicken. Add in a small bunch of parsley too. 

Slice the other lemon half into thin slices and arrange them around the potatoes and the chicken. You can even put them on the chicken if you'd like to decorate it a little. 

Drizzle the whole thing with a little olive oil. 

Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 1 1/2-2 hours. Whole chickens don't need to be covered when roasting. The chicken should be 170 degrees when you remove it from the oven. Test the temp in several areas. The chicken will continue cooking about 5 more degrees once it's out of the oven. You want to end up with a 175 to 180 degree chicken. 

Rest on a cookie sheet along side the potatoes and carrots. Cover for 15 minutes. Leave the rest of the stuff in the pan, you'll be using it in your stock. 

Carve chicken and serve with potatoes, and carrots. 

Once dinner is over and the leftover chicken has cooled off, remove every bit of meat from it. Save the skin, bones, and other bits in a bowl. Use the leftover meat in a salad, pot pie, or just re-heat and serve with some yummy side dishes. 

So as not to make this the longest blog post EVER, I will show you how to make the stock tomorrow. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Easy Garlicky Croutons Out of Extra Bread

We eat these in our salads. Especially delicious in caesar salad! 

Start with whatever bread you'd like- I use leftover loaves that are a little past their prime.

Cube the bread. I make mine about 1/2"-3/4" squares. You can make them as small or large as you'd like. You'll have to adjust how long you bake them. 

Put the cubes in a large bowl. Drizzle with a good amount olive oil. For 2 cups of croutons, I do 2-3 turns around the bowl with the olive oil. 

Toss them lightly to coat. You want them to be pretty shiny. The oil adds a lot of flavor. This makes them taste like actual croutons and not the seasoned stuffing mix cubes you buy around the holidays to stuff your bird with. 

Sprinkle with salt, pepper to taste- be generous. 

Grate 2 cloves garlic into the bowl with your Microplane. Toss again to distribute the garlic bits. 

Spread evenly onto cookie sheet. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Toss them around a bit. Bake for 15 more minutes until the are crunchy on the edges. The middle might be a little soft, but they will firm up when cool. Adjust bake time if you cut your cubes a different size. 

Store in an airtight container in the fridge- they'll last a long time that way.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Classic Peanut Butter Crisscross Cookies

This is my Go-To recipe for delicious PB cookies. It can also be made into a bar cookie very easily.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Cream butter, PB, & sugar. Add egg. Add dry ingredients. 

Shape into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Make the crisscross marks with a floured fork, pressing the cookie flat. 

Bake for 7 minutes for soft cookies, 9 minutes for crunchy ones. 

Makes a few dozen. 

You can press this dough into a bar pan for bar cookies. Bake about 15 minutes and then check for doneness. Should look a little puffy and shine should be gone from the top when it's done. Cool completely before cutting. 

*adapted from a recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Low-Fat Apple Double Cinnamon Coffee Cake

The cinnamon makes this cake a dark brown color.

2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups chopped apples
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp margarine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Grease 9inch cake pan. (I use foil pans so it's easier to freeze the cake)

Combine wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients. Combine gently. Batter will be a little lumpy. Pour into cake pan. 

Mix topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top of batter. 

Bake for 25-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. It takes mine about 35 minutes to bake. I think it depends on the moisture content of the apples and applesauce. 

Freeze when cool for up to 3 months. Serve warm or room temperature.

*inspired by a Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book recipe.